RAB Douglas reckons Vasilis Barkas’ time at Celtic may be drawing to a close – but the former Parkhead shot-stopper admits that with so much up in the air at his old employers, he wouldn’t be surprised to see the 27-year-old regain his spot as first-choice goalie under new manager Ange Postecoglou.

The Premiership runners-up appointed Neil Lennon’s successor earlier this month ahead of what’s expected to be a major rebuilding job in Glasgow’s east end this summer, both on and off the park.

Along with Lennon, chief executive Peter Lawwell has also stepped down from his role at Celtic Park, while long-serving captain Scott Brown has departed for Aberdeen. A host of players brought in on loan for the club’s doomed tilt at ten in a row have returned to their parent clubs and others – such as centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, playmaker Ryan Christie and striker Odsonne Edouard – are in the final year of their contracts and could be moved on.

As if that weren’t enough for Postecoglou to contend with as the Champions League qualifiers creep closer, there is the small matter of what to do between the sticks. Greece internationalist Barkas was recruited for around £5million last summer, a sizeable outlay, yet never convinced during his brief spell in the first team before being supplanted by Scott Bain in the Parkhead pecking order.

Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan has been linked with a move to Glasgow to work under his compatriot Postecogolou and while Douglas wouldn’t be surprised to see a new No.1 recruited, he believes that Barkas could yet settle into his role at the club.

“I see Celtic have been linked with the Australian goalie from Brighton,” Douglas said. “I’m quite sure the new manager will have watched videos [of Barkas] from last season.


READ MORE: Pictured: Ange Postecoglou touches down in Glasgow as Dominic McKay welcomes new Celtic boss

“I think this season could be a big transitional period for Celtic. It depends how much money the board give Postecoglou, how many players he can shift out the door – it’s all ifs and buts.

“Do I think Barkas will be there at the start of the season? I’ve got my doubts.

“It’s been a hard one for him, coming from another country. You just never know – maybe he’s not settled, maybe it’s the environment, the style of football – all these things add up. He could go out and start the season in brilliant form and then he’s first choice for the rest of the season.

“Some players take to it naturally and others take a wee bit longer. I’ve made mistakes at Celtic Park and it’s not an easy place to play football. Lambo [Paul Lambert] used to say ‘you lose two games and it’s a crisis’.

“But Celtic will be looking to hit the ground running and you’ll see a lot of new faces this year.”

One man who will be hoping to stick around and impress the new manager is Bain, who featured regularly for Celtic from the turn of the year during the previous campaign.

The 29-year-old proved to be a fairly steady presence at the back as his side limped over the finish line and was the only Premiership goalkeeper playing regularly last season with a chance of making the cut for Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the Euros – but Douglas thinks the national team boss was correct to overlook him.

“Scott’s been on the fringes but I don’t think you can argue with the Scotland number one and two [David Marshall and Craig Gordon],” he reasoned. “I think they’re two of the most composed, relaxed goalies I’ve seen in a long time – and big-game players.”

Rab Douglas was speaking to promote Just Eat’s ‘Rolls for Goals’ initiative during Euro 2020, where customers will be offered a free sausage roll from Greggs for every match played on UK soil where there is at least one goal scored. The offer will be live the day after each match until 12th July for customers that place an order of at least £5 via Just Eat. Find out more at https://www.justeattakeaway.com/